Proposal to Study the Use of Natural Gas as Fuel - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Proposal to Study the Use of Natural Gas as Fuel

Bismarck, ND -

North Dakota lawmakers have explored legislation to help reduce the amount of natural gas being flared in western North Dakota.

The gas is a byproduct of oil and is being wasted, burned off, at many well sites.

But Donnell Preskey has more on a proposal to study turning natural gas into fuel in the state.

There's an alternative to filling your car with gas and paying the high price at the pump...

And that alternative is right in the state's backyard.

"ND" need to understand the potential of natural gas in this country, really to provide transportation fuels at a much cheaper price possibly," says ND Petroleum Council President Ron Ness.

"We are flaring the equivalent of 200 million cubic feet of gas a day, drive the entire fleet of vehicles in North Dakota," says Paul Jensen of Green Way Energy.

Jensen and Ness agree, finding alternative uses for natural gas will only add value to the oil and gas industry.

30% of natural gas is being wasted at well sites because gathering systems can't keep up with production.

Jensen says, "we have the natural resources right now in our ground, we waste it by flaring, so why not take advantage of it to make our businesses more competitive."

That's why Jensen and others are asking lawmakers to study the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.

"This has been operational 30 years in other places of the world. We've just had inexpensive gasoline and diesel and it's hurting the wallet. This isn't new technology," says Jensen.

In fact, 30 some states have natural gas pumping stations.

It's very popular in Oklahoma where the equivalent of a gallon of gas costs $.99.

Compressed natural gas stations are in 45 cities in that state.

Jensen proposes starting with eight station in North Dakota.

He says that would reach 54% of residents.

"Companies are nervous to make the investments. Vehicles not in showroom but are manufactured. Businesses want to see the vehicles can be filled up," says Jensen.

In addition there have been talks with BNSF to use liquefied natural gas in their engines.

While turning natural gas into fuel may mean cost savings for residents and companies. Ness says it shows the state is progressive in doing more with a valuable resource.

"Now's the time. You got to strike while the iron is hot. Attract these people here while the Bakken has the attention of the world," says Ness.

Jensen says there are 560 natural gas compression stations across the country.

He says Chesapeake Energy has converted 2,500 vehicles to use natural gas. AT&T has 5,000 vehicles that use the alternative fuel with plans to go to 15,000.


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